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In Croatia, we discover the most tender, flavorful stuffed cabbage leaves

Paprika-Pork Stuffed Cabbage

2½ hours

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Paprika-Pork Stuffed Cabbage

In Croatia, stuffed cabbage is made with fermented whole cabbage leaves, which are not easy to source in the U.S. To mimic the tangy-salty flavor of fermented cabbage using fresh cabbage, we cook the head in a highly seasoned mixture of water and vinegar. Before cooking, we core the head so the leaves separate easily; this also hastens cooking because water can seep between the layers. If convenient, the cabbage leaves can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated. The cabbage rolls also can be assembled and refrigerated for up to eight hours, but reserve the sauce separately. Before baking, layer the sauce and stuffed cabbage into the baking dish as directed, then bake, upping the baking time to 1 hour.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t undercook the cabbage when boiling to soften the leaves. The leaves, including the thick rib near the base, must be tender enough to roll up around the filling. The smaller inner leaves of the cabbage head will soften more quickly than the sturdier outer layers. And don’t rinse the rice before cooking; the starch released by the grains during cooking thickens the sauce.

2½ hours

Reviews
Judy M.

The article and recipe brought back many memories. My Polish grandmothers and mother make stuffed cabbage the same way, but added whole tomatoes to the mixture. There were always a big roaster full at holidays and family gatherings. They said the dill and bacon (pancetta) were the secret ingredients.

Diana L.

My family makes cabbage rolls all the time. I made these 5 times now and they are absolutely delicious. They are different than the traditional cabbage rolls I make but still very tasty. I have also learned a lot from this recipe. I would recommend cooking them for 2 to 2 and half hours otherwise cabbage wont be soft. Thank you for this recipe.

Felix P.

My family wasn’t keen on the tangy cabbage leaves. They also weren’t soft/cooked enough even though I followed all the steps

Amy T.

These are my new favourite recipe for cabbage rolls. The cabbage had a faint sauerkraut flavour. I had extra leaves that we ate as a delicious side dish after the cabbage rolls were gone.

Nicole G.

Delicious! The pancetta -- and the slightly sour cabbage -- are wonderful. I do think it's important to pay attention to the recipe header (tip) and not undercook the cabbage leaves initially (instead of just following the suggested time). I simmered mine for ten and then left them to steep for another ten. Next time I'll leave the outer leaves in even longer, as they were still a bit firm after an hour in the oven. Thank you for pointing out that we don't rinse this rice in the header/tip! I do it so automatically whenever I cook with rice, I would have probably done it again here. I will certainly make these cabbage rolls again.

George B.

Anyone compare this pork-only recipe to a more traditional pork-beef combo with tomato? I'm Hungarian-American and I'm used to having this with ground beef and the addition of tomato (Toltott Kaposzta). I'm going to try this recipe, but don't think i can resist adding beef and tomatoes. Would love to hear from people who made it both ways....

maureen s.

This recipe was very good but A LOT of work. I used 1/4 of filling for each and had enough to make 16 of them not 12. I found the step of shaving off the thicker part of the stem to be painfully tedious.

meghan R.

Best cabbage rolls I have ever eaten, much less made. This recipe is a bit of work, unfortunately, so I am unable to make it as often as I want. However they are the best cabbage rolls ever! My great grandmother did not write any of her recipes down. I remember eating her cabbage rolls and loving them. I have tried for years to achieve that flavor memory. When I took my first bite of these cabbage rolls I actually cried. They tastes like my great grandmothers. I love them. Even my husband who thought he did not like cabbage rolls loves these!


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